T is for Toy Trucks


I’d been married to Carol for about a year and a half in the late fall of 2000. She was trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas. I made some passing mention that there was a really cool toy fire truck being sold at the local Hess station. I might have even seen an ad on TV for it.

Still, I was quite surprised when, on Christmas morning, she (or Santa, I forget which) actually got it for me. I must say that I really loved it. It has a couple different sirens, and flashing lights and a workable ladder.

So before Christmas 2001 Continue reading

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Decoration Day


I’m old enough to remember when Memorial Day was on the 30th of May, not the last Monday in May, which was a change that took place in 1971. I’m not sure when the holiday changed from being called Decoration Day to Memorial Day, though I recently saw a 1902 Library Journal making reference to the former name.

The holiday was designed to remember the dead from the American Civil War (or however it was called by others) on both sides of the battle. According to the Continue reading

May Rambling

When Blogger was down for about 24 hours earlier this month, it really threw off my blogging rhythm. For reasons mundane (I’m used to it) and functional (it’s a backup system), I still compose my blog in Blogger, THEN copy and paste into this WordPress format. And the day it was down was a Thursday, which meant I actually HAD time to post for an hour between work and choir. Or go to other people’s blogs, or leave comments on other people’s blogs, but I couldn’t do that either. Then when Blogger finally came back up, I realized that none of the blogposts that I had Scheduled actually saw the light of day, so I had to repost them. Oh, well. Arthur, and others whose primary blogs are on Blogger, had it worse than I.
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Went to see HAIR this month.
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The eldest niece’s website.
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Gordon at Blog This, Pal! has been blogging for seven years, which is amazing. He’s the only out-of-area blogger I’ve met through blogging, when we went to a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field in 2008. Naturally, the home team lost.
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Who hit the most home runs during the 1960s? More than Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, or Willie McCovey. That would be Harmon Killebrew, whose goodbye note to his fans was very touching, and who died this month of cancer at the age of 74. He was probably my father-in-law’s favorite player. Incidentally, my father-in-law’s 75th birthday was this week.
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Samoa will lose a day! And willingly, no less. Gotta mess up birthdays, astrological charts…
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A Berlioz Requiem sampler of the Albany Pro Musica concert. The “Dies irae” and the “Lacrymosa” are only fragmentary parts of the longer originals, due to uploading limits.
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The National Jukebox, from your Library of Congress.
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Did you know Jack Kirby had an alternate design for Captain America, created for some purpose he couldn’t remember, that never appeared in a comic book?
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I feel as though I really need to see the movie Thor. It got a 70%+ positive rating from Rotten Tomatoes, but a real negative one from Roger Ebert. Something about his take, though, 1) compelled him to respond to his critics and 2) makes me think that I might like it anyway.
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Addresses of Marvel Superheroes in New York City.
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Fight the Rebellion! Darth Vader is countng on you!
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This is an interesting video. I’ve subsequently found more people doing this on other videos, but this pair seem to be the best.

I Can’t SAY That Word QUESTION


There was a 1980 hit song by a group called the Barracudas called Summer Fun, from an album I happen to own; in fact, a mail order customer at FantaCo sent it to me in gratitude. The introduction to the song comes from an ad c. 1967; the story line was that a Plymouth car dealer couldn’t say the word Barracuda, problematic because the hot Plymouth car that year was supposedly the Barracuda. (The whole ad can be heard, after the 27 second mark, here.

What reminded me of this was the fact that I was doing a reference question last month and realized I could not say the word Continue reading

The Top 100 Canadian Albums, part 2


Continuing with the book The Top 100 Canadian Albums by Bob Mersereau. Not only did I own a fair number of these albums, many of them played a significant part of my life, often in relationship with my significant other (S.O.) at the time.

41.Not Fragile, Bachman-Turner Overdrive (1974)
42.The Best of the Guess Who, The Guess Who (1971) – One of the very few singles – i.e, 45s – I ever bought was Laughing b/w Undun. And then I really got into the group when it started with his heavier sound. And they endeared me forever when the group was invited to sing at the Nixon White House, but requested, apparently by Pat Nixon, not to sing American Woman. But the most intriguing song on the album was one I did not know previously Continue reading

The Lydster, Part 86: Homework

As I’ve noted, I tend to be the one who works on the homework with the Daughter. She even had an assignment during the week off from school for Passover/Easter. Only 7 of the 24 students actually did the assignment, and Lydia was the ONLY one to color it, as requested, albeit on the Monday morning she was returning to class.

On the weekly homework, there are 10 spelling words to copy plus a bonus word. She’s quite good at this; I don’t think she’s gotten worse than a 95 on her weekly test. The homework also includes writing sentences and some math.

Occasionally, I find the exercises with the graphics to be a bit obtuse, but never more so than earlier this month.
The exercise: Continue reading

Bob Dylan is 70


A couple books (that I have not read) have come out about Bob Dylan recently, Sean Wilentz’s “Bob Dylan in America,” and “Bob Dylan by Greil Marcus, Writings 1968-2010” by Greil Marcus. Dylan will turn 70 today, which also, I read in Jon Friedman’s Media Web column for MarketWatch.com, marks “the 50th anniversary of his arrival in New York City’s Greenwich Village folk scene. He was a star when John F. Kennedy was our president.”

I’ve been writing a bit about him already this year, from a reinterpretation of his lyrics to cover versions of his songs.

But Continue reading

S is for Songs from the classics


When I was 11 or 12, I took piano lessons for a little over a year. I wasn’t very good, though I did practice. I will say that it was useful for singing. My piano teacher was Mrs. Hamlin, the organist at my church at the time, who was like family; her parents were my godparents, and her sister’s son was my parents’ godson.

One day, I was laboriously trying to play the Bach Minuet in C, which, incidentally, I had danced to in second grade. Mrs. Hamlin said, “It’s like A Lover’s Concerto by the Toys.” At that very moment, I had no idea what she was talking about, though, of course, now I do.

Actually, I first owned A Lover’s Concerto as a cover version by the Supremes on their I Hear A Symphony album, which also contained their version of Stranger in Paradise from the 1953 musical Kismet, which poached Alexander Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor.

As it turns out Continue reading

Jeffrey Catherine Jones


There was a period of about 20 years in my life when the comic art form was extremely important in my life. One of the most impressive people working was Jeff Jones. I think I met him only once, at the FantaCon comic convention in Albany in 1980.

But FantaCo, where I worked in the 1980s, published at least two of his stories, in the anthologies Gates of Eden and Deju Vu. The covers were done by Michael Kaluta and Bernie Wrightson, respectively, two of his colleagues in something called The Studio. And both titles, on a purely commercial level, were abject failures, though brilliant on an aesthetic one.

So I lost track of Jeffrey Jones by 1994. I didn’t know, for instance, that Continue reading